Stand­out SUVS

Whether you’re a de­ter­mined of­froader, need the ex­tra space or just en­joy be­ing a lit­tle higher on the road, these SUVs have it all

Destiny Man - - WHEELS -

BMW X2: PUTTING IN­DI­VID­U­AL­ISM FIRST

BMW’s fun and funky X2 is for youth­ful mo­torists who are non-con­form­ists and want their in­di­vid­u­al­ity to be re­flected in ev­ery­thing they do. A clever cross be­tween a com­pact SUV and a coupé, it’s also a head­turner, ow­ing to its bold, sporty de­sign. A lot of thought went into de­sign­ing the cabin to keep it airy and light. As a re­sult, the ve­hi­cle ap­pears to be spa­cious, even when seated in the back row, de­spite its com­pact size. Nev­er­the­less, ju­di­cious con­sumers will bat­tle to de­cide be­tween the X1, which is more prac­ti­cal and a tad more spa­cious, and this new ad­di­tion to the X model line-up.

Among the fun fea­tures that sweeten the X2’s deal are crash sen­sors for safety, au­to­matic tail­gate op­er­a­tion, rear-view cam­era, park dis­tance con­trol and ser­votronic con­trol, which ad­justs the amount of steer­ing as­sis­tance to bal­ance the speed of the car.

On the road, this ur­ban coupé is a plea­sure to drive, with smooth ac­cel­er­a­tion. Should your hob­bies in­clude a sport like golf, which re­quires room for your kit, you could get started with the X2. How­ever, as your hand­i­cap im­proves and your range of clubs ex­pands, you might need to up­grade to some­thing more spa­cious.

As is to be ex­pected in a ve­hi­cle that’s about in­di­vid­u­al­ity, there are many op­tions for per­son­al­is­ing your X2 to en­sure it stands out and is in synch with your unique per­son­al­ity.

TIGUAN ALLSPACE: SPACE AND COM­FORT

More space in your ve­hi­cle no longer has to com­pro­mise its de­sign or over­all looks. To cater for those need­ing to trans­port two or more peo­ple in their Tiguans, VW in­tro­duced the Allspace – a sexy seven-seater com­pact of­fer­ing – to the al­ready pop­u­lar model line-up.

When parked next to the five-seater, the de­sign dif­fer­ence isn’t stark and the big­ger ve­hi­cle doesn’t look ob­long. In­stead, it ap­pears to be smoother and bet­ter-rounded, thanks to well thought-out, in­tel­li­gent de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing which al­lowed for tweaks such as larger side win­dows and a slightly raised bon­net to achieve the needed space with­out ru­in­ing a good­look­ing SUV.

Although the ad­di­tion of 215mm in length and an ex­tra row of two seats makes the ve­hi­cle slightly heav­ier, this hasn’t im­pacted its per­for­mance. It re­mains an easy drive and ac­cel­er­ates quickly enough to over­take ve­hi­cles on busy roads. At no point do you feel as if you’re haul­ing a pan­tech­ni­con when you’re be­hind the wheel of the AllSpace.

As with most seven-seaters, the boot space is se­verely com­pro­mised when the two ex­tra seats are in use. Also, while chil­dren will find it ex­cit­ing to be seated in the third row, av­er­age-sized adults will find it un­com­fort­able due to the lim­ited leg- and head­room, es­pe­cially on long jour­neys.

We love the fact that the seats are elec­tronic, mak­ing it easy to ac­cess the rear with­out need­ing to use in­cred­i­ble force to lift or flat­ten the third row. Among the fea­tures in this ve­hi­cle are par­al­lel park­ing as­sist, ges­ture con­trol sys­tem, trailer as­sist and an of­froad ex­te­rior pack­age that in­creases the ap­proach by seven de­grees, as an op­tional ex­tra.

ISUZU MU-X: UNPRETENTIOUS QUAL­ITY

When Chevro­let re-en­tered the South African mar­ket in the mid-2000s, it re­branded the very suc­cess­ful

Opel Corsa Util­ity to the Chevro­let Util­ity, im­pos­ing the bow-tie badge on it in the hopes of con­tin­u­ing its runaway suc­cess. To fur­ther build the Chevro­let brand in a South African mar­ket that isn’t eas­ily pen­e­tra­ble, the com­pany launched the Trail­blazer, a seven-seater SUV meant to com­pete with the likes of the Toy­ota For­tuner. How­ever, while its re­fined ex­te­rior de­sign led, lo­cal mo­torists didn’t shower it with love.

Fol­low­ing the shock­ing exit of Chevro­let from the lo­cal mar­ket in 2017, Isuzu – now a stand-alone brand – launched the mu-X. It joined the much-loved and no-non­sense KB, one of the mar­ket-lead­ing dou­ble­cab bakkies. Hav­ing first launched the mu-X in 2013 in Far East­ern and Aus­tralian markets, Isuzu built on its legacy as a non-pre­ten­tious brand that builds cars to last. It also took the time to make im­prove­ments on the new of­fer­ing that would give it a com­pet­i­tive edge. The re­sult is an ef­fort­less, medium SUV that gets the job done.

The in­te­rior’s pleas­ant, airy and not too shabby, com­pared with some pre­mium brands that cost dou­ble the price. The 9” touch-screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem has a nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem and of­fers mu­sic play­ing op­tions of CD, DVD, MP3, Blue­tooth, Ap­ple CarPlay, An­droid Auto and even au­dio-stream­ing. There are also two USB ports to en­sure all an­gles are cov­ered when it comes to con­nec­tiv­ity.

With cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion in mind, Isuzu launched the mu-X in a com­pe­tent three-litre tur­bod­iesel en­gine that pro­duces 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque, en­abling you to tow up to three tonnes. On the road, ex­pect steady per­for­mance and a great drive height from this seven-seater.

We can safely say that Isuzu’s ticked all the boxes and added sig­nif­i­cant com­fort to its en­hanced, mys­te­ri­ously named SUV.

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